500 signatures reached
To: Auckland Council (Notified Consents Hearing and other pertinent committees) and Waitemata Local Board:
Save Western Springs Native Forest
We call on Auckland Council to stop their application for Resource Consent to destroy up to 70% of the 90+ year old native forest in their plan to clear fell the pine trees in the Significant Ecological Area of Western Springs Forest.
We call on Auckland Council to require
• Professional management of the forest and surgical removal of only trees pre-disposed to failure;
• Minimising loss and damage to the existing regenerating native bush under the pines;
• Phased restoration planting over several years leading to replacement specimen trees.
• To work with resident volunteers in partnership to manage the Forest from now on and its future development.
Why is this important?
The Resource Consent Hearing is next week on the 11th and 12th December 2018. Council is planning to clear-fell the pines as soon as they can.
Please sign this petition.
Auckland Council is proposing to destroy all of the Pines together with “70-80%” of the regenerating native bush using industrial-scale clear felling. Council plans to replant a native forest that will take 30-50 years to establish, providing it is properly planted and maintained for a number of years.
For the 90+ years that the pines have been growing a naturally regenerating native bush has been growing underneath the pines. This bush is 90+ years old, providing habitat for biodiversity including Kaka, Morepork, Kereru, Fantail, Tui, Kingfisher, Heron and Swallow among many other native and exotic bird species. It is an important stopping off point to migrating bird species and those flying from the offshore islands ot the Waitakeres. Insects like Weta, Huhu, among other fauna, lizards and possibly native bats. This forest offers one of the very few urban Auckland habitats suitable for the long-tailed bat, a threatened nationally vulnerable species.
The Forest is an historically designated Significant Ecological Area (SEA) and is supposed to be protected by Council.
This plan looks like a back-door attempt to destroy the SEA. Waitemata Local Board wants to turn the Forest into parkland, which would destroy the SEA, to put in a bike track, all without proper consultation with the key stakeholder affected residents.
Council and WLB are running a campaign of fear claiming that the Forest is unsafe.
Council plans to run an 8m-wide track into the under-storey, flattening a natural knoll in the process, to bring in heavy equipment to clear fell. Council plans include three skid sites up to 40m wide for dragging large logs. The three skid sites alone will totally destroy any vegetation and soil structure in the area.
This site may well become at risk of erosion and instability as replanting of natives will take 1 to 6 possibly 10 years to stabilise the hillside. This means the hillside will be vulnerable to slippage during that time from bad weather events.
There are other ways to deal with the ageing pines that do not involve almost totally destroying the regenerating native forest. The Council has not considered any other option than clear-felling the pines and destroying up to 70% of the native forest understory.
The key unknown is maintenance. The new native plantings will require even more maintenance than now and Council is unable to deliver the kind of quality park maintenance that old Auckland Council provided to residents or caring for our valuable green assets.
Auckland Council, which lacks skills to manage this forest safely, have been damaging its integrity for years with inappropriate felling and topping. Over the years, despite promises to residents to replant natives, Council have failed to do so.
Auckland's Parks are notoriously underfunded. We have not seen any budgets for this very, very expensive plan. We do not know if the plan will be able to be funded for necessary number of years it will take to maintain the new plantings and to control the weeds and pests. Council does not have a positive track record.
Local residents have never been consulted on this proposal, although both WLB and Council employees represented to residents that they would be. Some key residents are very worried about the potential risks for damage to their double brick houses of the methodology to be employed and the possible consequences of the project destabilising the hillside below their houses.
Residents have cost-effective solutions and do not condone the Council turning this into another major project costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit Council's preferred contractors, former employers of the revolving door Council project managers. All is not as it seems.
The Resource Consent allowing destruction of the forest and the naturally regenerating native bush MUST NOT be granted.
The hearing for the Resource Consent is taking place on the 11th and 12th December 2018.
Your signature will help persuade Council and the Board to do the right thing.
Please Volunteer: firstname.lastname@example.org